Staying Safe on the Roads

By Caroline Emenaker| Reporter

We are officially less eight days away from winter. That means winter coats, cute scarves, boots, gigantic feasts for the holidays. And with winter comes ice and snow, which can become a major danger for all of us.

According to the American Automobile Association, snowy weather caused 189,416 car crashes in 2015, as well as 36,491 crashes as the result of sleet. To us we may see those as just statistics, but with more and more teens driving everyday any kind of precaution could save a life.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 70 percent of roads in the US are located in snowy regions, which means they receive more than 5 inches of snowfall each year. This includes Indiana. Junior Sarah Stoutamyer said that she finds safe driving in the winter is important because of this reason.

“It’s important to drive safely and with more caution because the roads are more slick,” Stoutamyer said. “Sometimes when it snows a lot it’s hard to see what is normally 10-20 feet in front of you.”

Sophomore Grace Newton said that since the roads are more slick than usual, she tries to be more attentive and focused when on the road.

“I of course always wear a seat-belt but in the winter I will drive slower and keep educated on what to do if I slip on the road or if I get in an accident,” Newton said.

Stoutamyer also said that she finds it important to have new tires and to keep your windshield and mirrors clean. In fact the Federal Highway Administration says that your driving capacity and visibility is reduced by 12% during heavy snow.

“Since there is not much traction on the road as there is in spring or summer, it is important to have new tires. To increase visibility you can keep windshield cleaner and a scraper for the very cold days when your windshield has ice on it,” Stoutamyer said.

20 percent of the state Department of Transportation maintenance budget goes towards road maintenance during the winter.  So, roads can often be icy and slick with snow making it hard to see. Senior Nathan Ringham says that using common sense during the winter is important.

“Common sense is also a given. There is no reason to be going 45 to 50 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone during a snowstorm,” Ringham said.

So, during these particularly snowy and icy months, make sure to stay safe and be careful. Even a little snow could cause an accident, which isn’t what Andy Williams would dub as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

“Things such as ice and slush can cause a driver to potentially wreck or injure another person,” Ringham said. “Unless they use caution and stay safe.”

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